The tone for the upcoming Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition & Conference (WEFTEC) 2017, hosted by the Water Environment Federation (WEF), will be set on the 2nd of October, Monday, with the Opening General Session (OGS) at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, United States (U.S.). Additionally, this year’s kick-off programme will feature an exciting new format that integrates the traditional opening programme with the popular Great Water Cities Session.
The current water industry is a reflection of the diverse, forward-thinking, and progressive people and leaders who work together to guard public health, the economy, and our environment by recovering valuable resources and offering reliable access to water to all – by making us re-think how we develop, manage, and nurture current and future assets; financial, human, and physical resources.
Adding onto the successful #MyWaterLegacy campaign launched at WEFTEC 2016, the programme this year will concentrate on the importance of mentorship with ties to workforce development, innovation, and leadership.
The new and improved OGS will also celebrate WEFTEC’s 90th edition and the water industry’s accomplishments while also challenging and inspiring attendees to be adaptable, creative, and to become influential water leaders of the future.
Featuring Eileen O’Neill, Executive Director of WEF and 2016-2017 President of WEF, Rick Warner, the programme will include a keynote address from nationally-acclaimed STEM educator, Fredi Lajvardi, along with a series of informal, engaging “WEFTalks” that will represent various segments of professions in the water sector.
Lajvardi, a leading STEM advocate and mentor, has both directly and indirectly guided many into science-based careers by using his personal story to emphasise the need to adopt and embrace innovation and diversity while also showcasing the societal rewards of investing in others in order to help them realise their full potential.
The programme, moderated by Tom Ferguson, the vice president of programming for Imagine H20, will adapt the most popular aspect of the Great Water Cities dialogue series by giving water professionals the chance to learn directly from their peers, hearing testimonials about how their colleagues joined the water sector and the ways in which they have benefitted from mentorship – as both mentor and protégé – and how their joint efforts can create and support a diverse and unifed workforce in the water sector.